Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday said the charging of three police personnel for the alleged custodial death of a 32-year-old ethnic Indian man shows the commitment of the government and police to weed out `bad hats` from the force.
He said that the action initiated against the police personnel was also part of his promise to the people to ensure transparency in the force.
Hamidi said his Ministry will weed out the `bad hats` no matter who they are.
The policemen who been charged for the custodial death are Jaffri Jaafar, 44, Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman, 45, and Mohd Haswadi Zamri Shaari, 32.
"It shows my commitment in taking action against errant police personnel. It is a firm statement that action will be taken without fear or favour," the Home Minister was quoted by Star newspaper as saying.
On May 21, N Dhamendran was found dead in his cell while in police custody at the police headquarters here.
The Minister said action was taken because the police personnel did not follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) when conducting investigations.
"Dhamendran`s death while in police custody is a tragedy that I hope will not occur again," he said, adding that "the charging of the police personnel is a first step towards ensuring no more such deaths will happen in custody."
Meanwhile, Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), under the Prime Minister`s department has said the issue of custodial deaths is a national issue and not related to any race.
Pemandu director D Ravindran said "by saying it`s an Indian issue, you can`t reduce the importance of it. Citizens will get the rightful protection if the authorities take great measures to curb this problem."
Minister in the Prime Minister`s Department Paul Low had quoted police statistics as showing 28 ethnic Indians had died in police custody between 2000 and 2010.
In the same period, 64 Malays and 30 Chinese police detainees had also died.
Low, the former Transparency International Malaysia director, said it was, therefore, a national issue and not one confined to just the ethnic Indians.